Bamberg is irrefutably the choice for a base when exploring Franconia if beer is a driving force, especially for the first time visitor. However, for the repeat visitor or those with ample time it’s worth considering staying in Forchheim as well. While not quite as beerily blessed in town or in its surroundings, there is plenty to keep you busy particularly if in the area during the summer Bierkeller season. There’s still plenty to choose from and this guide will help you do that wisely.
While smaller than Bamberg, it has its share of half-timbered charmers and three rough and ready brewpubs which give you a countryside feel right off the bat without even stepping on a bus. Sadly, the fourth, Eichhorn, closed in 2022. It’s particularly sad as it was the only one really doing full meals. It remains open serving contract beer. There’s also a sweet little pub which does a mean Schnitzel and barrel Först Lagerbier.
Eichhorn (though no longer brewing, a good restaurant with contract beer)
Vogelgässler (great little pub with excellent food/beer)
The reason to visit in the summer is Forchheim’s real claim to fame: their Bierkeller scene. The Kellerwald is a hilly area dotted with 22 Kellers just on the edge of town, easily reached on foot or bus. It is most famous as home to Annafest when all of the Kellers are open but in the “off-Fest” season,” some the Kellers remain open. Most are surprisingly nice, offering great food and the local Forchheim beers. I have been to quite a few during the Fest but not exactly in research mode. 😉 I did go up on a regular weekend to eat at the Neder Keller and it’s top notch. I grabbed a snack at the Hebendanz Keller as well. Hope to get to a few more soon.
If that’s not enough for you, there is plenty to explore in the beautiful countryside surrounding town. Though some are reachable by train, a few might mean taking a bus. The biggest dilemma will be picking out which breweries and Bierkellers to head out to. While there are some definite must-do’s, picking your destinations might be influenced on the days of the week you are traveling and how much adventure you want to include in your public transportation experience. You’re going to have to pick your breweries and Bierkellers wisely. This guide will help you do just that.
the pleasures awaiting you outside of town
All of this information is available in much more detail on Beerwanderers so to keep this guide compact and easier to use while there, I will use links in case you need more information than a list. Contact info/opening hours/links to brewery websites/food/tasting notes are conveniently on these linked pages. I re-checked the opening hours in January 2024 but it’s best to reconfirm these times on the breweries’ websites or social media pages. When in doubt and if going to a village which is hard to reach, it’s always best to call.
trains, buses & automobiles
Before listing my suggestions for Forchheim area countryside breweries, I would like to suggest your having a look at my how to get around pages below. The German transportation Apps (DB & VGN) are invaluable for not only your planning but also purchasing tickets. They are not data or battery hogs and are about as non-obtrusive as you will find.
The list of breweries will be split into three groups, determined solely by me as to the ease to reach them. (Please note, this post is about reaching the destinations without a car and with minimal walking. If you are driving or a beer hiker or biker, you can disregard this grouping and look at it as one big list.) Within each group, I will list them by town/village as occasionally there is more than one venue in a given village. Also, the name of the village will be important in finding your transportation route. I’m not providing bus routes or numbers as they change. With Forchheim as a start point and the destination provided, you can easily sort it out with the VGN App. I will do it alphabetically rather than by my personal favorites. If it’s listed here, you can assume I like it. I am also only listing places that I have personally been to as I can’t recommend something I haven’t personally experienced. I will put an asterisk next to ones I feel have more merit. The links will go to my reviews of the places which includes beers I’ve had along with food. Though my focus is beer, food plays a big part in my beery travels. Please note, the ease of travel designation mostly is aimed at summer travelers. For instance, Hallerndorf is much more accessible in summer due to the Bierkellers having more friendly opening hours than their pubs. I’d say in general, it’s a notch tougher in the colder months.
some cozy places
1) Easy Peasy: Places which you have no excuse for not checking out providing you have time. Travel time is minimal with generally no connections involved. Perhaps most importantly, they have friendly opening hours which work with public transportation.
Buttenheim (two breweries and two Bierkellers)
Ebermannstadt (brewery and Bierkeller)
Hallerndorf * (two breweries and two Bierkellers)
Hirschaid (brewery & Bierkeller)
Kreuzberg Bierkeller area (three Bierkellers)
Pretzfeld (brewery & a top Bierkeller *)
Stiebarlimbach * (brewery & Bierkeller)
A little more elbow grease: Places where you need to make multiple connections or opening hours aren’t so friendly or both. You can get there but it takes some forethought, especially if you want to get back the same day. You might have to do some walking, especially if you don’t plan well.
Not easy, the best things rarely are: Places which require a lot of planning due to very limited public transportation. Some require an overnight stay due to that or limited opening hours. Generally speaking, it’s well worth staying in these areas and you won’t regret it when drinking at any one of them, knowing you are sleeping nearby. Some might otherwise require some walking to get back to your starting point.
I hope The Pocket Guide to the Best Forchheim and its Countryside Breweries helps make your trip to Franconia a great one. If it’s helped you find some new places, please consider buying me a beer 🍺!
Going to Bamberg for the first time? Don’t leave home without The Pocket Guide to Bamberg’s Best Beer.
Are you interested in the countryside breweries around Bamberg? Please enjoy The Pocket Guide to Bamberg’s Best Countryside Breweries.
For a complete listing of all of the breweries I’ve visited in Franconian, with links to each brewery: Search for a brewery by name or enjoy my interactive map of Franconian breweries:
Heading to Bamberg in the warmer months, don’t leave home without A Guide to Bamberg’s Best Beergardens.
Going to the Bierkeller is a true Franconian cultural institution. Which are the best? Check out Bierkellering by Numbers.
If going to Bamberg during Bock season, check out The Bocks of Bamberg.
Want to know more about beer styles in Franconia? Enjoy ABeerC.
In Franconia, the food is as good as the beer: The ABCs of Franconian Food.
Prefer a guided beer experience in Bamberg.